Ludmila Ulitskaya © photo private


Ludmila Ulitskaya [ Russia ]

Ludmila Ulitskaya was born in 1943 in Dawlekanovo, Bashkiria, where her family had been evacuated during the Second World War. She grew up in Moscow. After studying biology, she worked as a geneticist at the Institute of General Genetics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1967. She was dismissed in 1970 for disseminating samizdat literature and worked for two years at the Jewish Chamber Music Theatre as a literary advisor. Eventually she became a freelance writer and publicist. Her first publication, the long story “Сонечка” (1992; “Sonechka”, 2005), appeared in the literary magazine Novyj mir. In 1994, the book was awarded the best translated book of the year in France and earned the author the French Medici Prize. Here, as in her subsequent stories and novels, she portrays people and their everyday lives in the Soviet Union, whose life lines are intensely intertwined. Her strong emotions are contrasted with the adversities of everyday life. Stylistically, she brings together Russian and Jewish narrative traditions and raises them to a contemporary level. Her novel “Даниэль Штайн, переводчик” (2006; “Daniel Stein, Interpreter”, 2011) is based on the life story of a Jewish Catholic who was able to save many of his co-religionists through his informational advantage as an interpreter for the Belarusian allied with the Nazis. He later converted to Catholicism and eventually went to Israel, where as a monk he founded a community modelled on the early Christians. His death in 1998 was probably an assassination disguised as a traffic accident. The large-scale social panorama “Зелёный шатёр” (2011; “The Big Green Tent”, 2011) tells of three friends who become dissidents in the Soviet Union. “Лестница Якова” (2015; “Jacob’s Ladder”, 2019) is also a panoramic account of Russian society in the 20th century, this time through the story of a branching family. “Uncompromisingly, Ulitzkaja shows what the Soviet system made of people who were too weak to resist it … The novel is Ulitzkaja’s most personal book.” (“Süddeutsche Zeitung”) Her most recent publication is “Бумажный театр: непроза” (tr. Paper Theatre. No-Prose), a collection of screenplays, diary entries, memoirs and plays.
Lyudmila Ulitskaya also openly advocated her political positions. Thus, she not only criticised Vladimir Putin’s policies, but in March 2014, together with other academics and cultural figures, voiced her rejection of the Russian authorities’ policies in Crimea.
Her books have been translated into more than 33 languages. She has received many awards for her work, including the Alexandr Men Prize for intercultural mediation between Russia and Germany in 2008, the Austrian State Prize for European Literature in 2014 and the Siegfried Lenz Prize in 2020. The author lives and works in Moscow.



Новый мир, 1992

Бедные родственники


Москва, 1993

Медея и её дети

Новый Мир, № 3 и 4, 1996

Весёлые похороны


Москва, 1997

Казус Кукоцкого

Новый мир, № 8 и 9, 2000



Москва, 2002

Сквозная линия


Москва, 2002

Искренне ваш Шурик


Москва, 2003

Люди нашего царя


Москва, 2005

Даниэль Штайн, переводчик


Москва, 2006

Русское варенье и другое


Москва, 2008

Зелёный шатёр


Москва, 2011

Священный мусор


Москва, 2012

Детство 45-53. А завтра будет счастье


Москва, 2013

Лестница Якова


Москва, 2015

Дар нерукотворный


Москва, 2016

О теле души

Лекторий Прямая Речь

Москва, 2019

Бумажный театр: непроза


Москва, 2020





New York, 2005

[Translation Arch Tait]

Medea and Her Children


New York, 1996

[Translation Arch Tait]

The Funeral Party


New York, 1997

[Translation Arch Tait]

The Kukotsky Enigma

Northwestern University Press

Evanston, 2016

[Translation Diane Nemec Ignashev]

Daniel Stein, Interpreter

Overlook Press

New York, 2011

[Translation Arch Tait]

The Big Green Tent

Farrar, Straus & Giroux

New York, 2011

[Translation Bela Shayevich]


Jacob’s Ladder

Farrar, Straus & Giroux

New York, 2019

[Translation Polly Gannon]